My boys have left me on the couch to play with a truck or dunk a basketball. I see my “out” and sneak four feet away to the computer which sits on our breakfast bar; I stand and type away. Most of the time, not even 60 seconds goes by and my youngest toddler is poking me. “Up, Mama!”
I give in and pick him up, thinking I can hold him on my hip like he were still 10 months old and he’ll be content. No. He wants to type or rather, bang on the keyboard. Or press a button. Or reach… reach for my Cherry Coke Zero. Or feed the fish. So down he goes, and runs off to chase his older brother. I try to refocus on the task at hand. Was I checking my bank statement or writing a post on Facebook? I have seven open windows on my laptop and this is typical.
I feel a pinch on my butt. He’s back. Of course I can’t ever get anything done! So I participate in a new trick that occupies him for a good two minutes. I lift my right leg up in some sort of ballet pose and rest it on the arm of our toddlerized couch. This allows my left leg to act as a pole upon which my little boy holds onto and circles around and around and around, thoroughly entertained. Alright! I finished an e-mail. Score! His older brother sees this fun from across the room and joins in. Before it ends with the two knocking heads, I’ve balanced my budget. I’m excited I’m taking care of biz-niss! This is the longest stretch of time I’ve had since last night when they went to bed.
My two-and-a-half year old is now tugging at my pants, the drawstring coming loose and the waist band is way past my behind.
My son laughs. “I see your bootie!”
I pull them up and corral them into the living room for some dancing. With Madonna or the Black Eyed Peas on the TV, we have fun, twirling and laughing. They soon get distracted and move on to their Jeep. I’m quick to take advantage and jump up to get some writing done.
As though my legs are some sort of magnetic force that neither of them can stay away from for too long, my oldest decides to use his latest technique to get my attention as he rams his whole body into my leg and pushes me like I’m a tackling sled on some football field (if this is the sport he ends up excelling in, I’ll retract my annoyance with it). I hold onto the counter top with one hand, while I continue to use the mouse with my right. I’m leaning in what I’m sure is some great yoga pose, before hearing him tell me he did something sweet to his brother and thus deserves candy as a treat – I made the mistake of giving him some M&Ms one day when I saw him unexpectedly share a toy with his little bro. Since then, he’ll do something sweet and then come to me for his prize. I look down at him and say, “I think what you did was really awesome, but you’re not going to get candy this time.”
“No!” he shouts at me in the deepest voice he can muster at two-and-a-half. He stomps off.
Just as I’m about to finish typing my sentence, my little man is right below me, both arms wrapped around my knee, “Jooss,” he says with adorable, needy eyes. I decide to call it a day (at least until naptime) and grab his juice and join him and his brother in the living room for some snuggling and cartoons.
This back and forth is what I used to do. I finally figured out the best balance is when I focus on them for an extended period of time, then move on to my projects. This gives me the chance to provide them with undivided attention and by the time we’re through, they are ready to play with just one another or at least on their own.